Move fast and quick or die quicker. An agrifood startup that fails to pivot its solutions in order to fit the needs of its growing market is bound to fail. This is the highlight of the masterclass that Gitte Schober, agrifood entrepreneurship consultant, delivered to the Agytech entrepreneurs of Batch 2 to help them assess the possibility to scale their startups.
To sum up her 2-day training, Gitte shared with us her top 7 tips covering how to develop your business value propositions, team competencies and international connections that are essential to improve and optimize your agrifood startup idea.
Test your customer needs
Most startups fail because there was no demand in the market to buy their products or services. By directly addressing the needs of your customers in your value proposition, you can engage more directly with your customers, increasing their purchasing intentions and giving you the ability to scale.
Focus on customer retention
In agri-food, customer loyalty and customer retention are essential. Although many products in the agri-food sector are fast-moving consumer goods, repeated purchases and returning customers should form the basis of your revenue model.
Build key agrifood partnerships
The agri-food sector is built on cooperations and key partnerships. From farmers cooperations to dairy and procurement of multi-nationals, cooperation is the norm in the sector. As a startup company, you can strengthen your proposition and scalability by entering key partnerships as early as possible.
Focus on corporate engagement
Actively cooperating with an established company in your sector offers a valuable opportunity for scaling your business, developing high-value exit strategies.
Create value with added services
Add value to your products by focusing on developing a well-rounded solution that tackles the different pain-points of your customer. Think of providing maintenance services, customer support, and customer loyalty programs or even offering spare parts or products that complement your solution.
Treat your funding partners as customers
Start developing an investor memorandum as soon as possible and start treating funding and finance partners as customers of your startup. Funding partners can offer invaluable advice and networks. Use them to your best advantage by appointing them to your board of advisors.
Prepare to take your agrifood startup international
Prepare for international markets from the beginning: use quality control standards (GAP, GLP, GMP, ISO) as soon as you design an operating process. Additionally, international competitions and platforms can give you the international visibility that you need. Find the ones relevant to your business and try to access them as soon as you are ready.
/About the writer/
As the coordinator of the Center of Entrepreneurship (CoE) at StartLife and Wageningen UR, Gitte Schober is responsible for the valorization and utilization of scientific research through prototyping and creation of start-up companies. The CoE focuses on scouting, idea development and proposition development in workshops series and development programs. Workshops and coaching are offered from student to scientist level and on knowledge valorization at a high Technology Readiness Level. StartLife focuses on agro, food and environment and has assisted more than 120 companies in starting up.
Gitte has more than 20 years of experience working at Wageningen UR and as a consultant, coordinating the entrepreneurship education and start-up activities within the Food Valley region.